In the Mountain Midst

A beautiful poem by Li Bai (701-762) explaining why he became a hermit.

My Translation
In the Mountain Midst, a Question Asked and Answered
You ask me why I live in the mountain of blue and green,
And with a smile I answer not, for my heart is idle.
Peach blossoms flow in silence with the water,
And heaven and earth are severed from this human world.
Original Chinese
山中问答 (李白)
Shānzhōng Wèndá (Li Bái)
Wèn yú hé yì qī bì shān,
Xiào ér bù dá xīn zì xián.
Táohuā liúshuǐ yǎorán qù,
Bié yǒu tiāndì fēi rénjiān.
Literal Translation
Character-by-character literal translation, words of more than one character in brackets.
Mountain Midst Question Answer (Li Bai; his name means “Plum White”)
Ask me what meaning live blue-green mountain
Smile but no answer heart self idle
Peach blossoms water obscure certainly go [“obscure certainly” = “silent”]
Separate exist heaven earth not man space [“man space” = “human world”]

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